The Truth About Ricky Martin And Jwan Yosef's Children

Ricky Martin certainly lived la vida loca before he became a proud father of four. His journey to becoming a Grammy-winning artist with fans all across the globe began when he was just a kid growing up in Puerto Rico. After a few appearances in commercials gave Martin a taste of what it's like being filmed for a living, "The Cup of Life" singer joined the boy band Menudo when he was 12 years old, per MTV News.

Martin later found success as a solo artist, and he expanded his fanbase even further with a role on "General Hospital" and the release of his 1999 self-titled album, which featured a number of English-language hits. But the entertainer yearned for more out of life than scripted drama and bon-bon shaking. "I always wanted to be a dad," Martin said during a 2010 appearance on "Larry King Live." He created the Ricky Martin Foundation to rescue children at risk of being preyed upon by traffickers, and he revealed that it was the work he did with his charity that made him decide to actively pursue becoming a parent.

Sadly, prejudice and discrimination once made this dream seem out of reach. "Many, many, many times I went through this grieving process of, 'I am gay, I am a closeted gay man, and I'm not going to be able to be a daddy,'" Martin told Out in 2020. However, he found a way to experience the joy of fatherhood.

The conversation he had with his twins' surrogate

In 2004, Ricky Martin was in Thailand helping victims of a devastating tsunami when he met an orphan nicknamed Baby Wave. Martin was interested in adopting the child, but learned that he was prohibited from doing so as a single man, per The Weekly. Three years later, he decided to pursue an easier path to parenthood for someone in his situation: using an egg donor and a surrogate.

Martin spoke about the process on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in 2010. Through an agency, he found a surrogate who was willing to make a private arrangement, meaning she would have no relationship with Martin's children after they were born. However, he spoke to her on the phone before deciding that she was the right woman for the job. "I said, 'Why do you do this?' And she said, 'Because I'm a very spiritual woman, and I've never felt closer to God than that moment where I can give the gift of life to someone that cannot do it on his own,'" Martin recalled. "'I said, 'You are the one.'"

In 2008, Martin joined the surrogate at the hospital to meet his sons, fraternal twins Matteo and Valentino, per People. In his memoir "Me," he revealed that his egg donor also didn't want to have any contact with the children. "She said she did it for the simple fact of being able to help others to form a family," he wrote.

The singer didn't hire a nanny when his twins were born

Ricky Martin was single and preparing to parent one child when he learned that he was getting double the joy. He also didn't have a nanny on the payroll. "I'm doing this on my own because I don't want to miss a moment," he explained to People. "I have a personal assistant who helps me, someone who takes care of me while I'm taking care of them, but I'm the one who changes the diapers, the one that feeds them, the one that bathes them, the one that puts them to sleep." Martin was so thrilled to be a father that those ear-splitting newborn wails didn't even phase him. To keep his audience of two entertained, he revealed that he read and sang to them.

The exhausted dad confessed that he made it two weeks before he realized that he needed help caring for his kids. In addition to eventually hiring a nanny, Martin received plenty of assistance from his mother, Doña Nereida Morales. Per the Advocate, Morales was willing to travel with her son and grandsons, and she even moved away from Puerto Rico so that she could perform her grandmotherly duties more regularly. "For 10 years I've been telling her, mom, you know, Miami, come and visit ... And all of a sudden now she lives in Miami because the babies are there," Martin said on "Larry King Live."

His kids inspired him to come out

While Ricky Martin decided to speak publicly about becoming a single dad in 2008, it would be two years before he came out as gay in an emotional blog post. "I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am," he wrote. After keeping his sexuality a secret from the public for years, Martin revealed that his kids helped him realize he was finally ready to stop living in fear of how people would react if he lived his truth openly. During a 2010 appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," he recalled thinking, "If I didn't come out for them, what, was I going to be teaching them how to lie?' ... I want them to be proud of their dad."

"To keep living as I did up until today would be to indirectly diminish the glow that my kids [were] born with. Enough is enough," Martin's blog post read. His children had unknowingly given him a priceless gift by inspiring him to set an example for them. "I felt free, I felt liberated," the singer told Winfrey of what it was like to come out. "I felt that I could finally say, 'I love myself completely.'" If one or more of Martin's kids are LGBTQ+, he doesn't expect them to face the same struggle he did. "That's not an issue because that is the normal in my house," he told Pride Source.

How Ricky Martin explained surrogacy to one of his kids

In interviews, Ricky Martin has been very open about the complex process he went through to become a parent. He even told KIIS FM (via the Daily Mail) that using IVF allowed him to pick the birth-assigned sex of each of his children. Explaining how surrogacy works to a young child might seem tricky, but Martin was up for the challenge. In a 2014 appearance on "The Enrique Santos Show" (via HuffPost, as translated by Google), Martin recalled how he responded when one of his twins asked, "Daddy, I was in your belly?"

According to Martin, he told his son, "There is a lady that I adore with all my heart who helped me bring you into this world and she lent me her little belly so that you could come and when you were born she put you in my arms." While this satisfied the tot at the time, Martin knew that his twins would eventually have more questions about their surrogate and their bio mom, and he would be ready and willing to answer them. In his autobiography "Me," the musician wrote, "If my sons want to know about their egg donor when they are older, I will be able to show them photographs of her. They have a right to know who she is; she is a part of their genetic history."

His ex maintained a relationship with the twins

Sometimes Cupid's arrow seems to strike at the most inopportune times. Ricky Martin was still adjusting to life as a single father of twins when he met stockbroker Carlos Gonzalez Abella, who was blunt with Martin when explaining why the singer was not his ideal match at the time. "He said: 'I'm looking for a boyfriend, not a father with a family,'" Martin recalled to Vanity Fair. "And I said to him: 'You've found a grown-up, full-fledged man.'" Abella decided to accept the package deal.

Martin dated the businessman for six years, meaning that Abella became a big part of his sons' lives. "He's guided by the approach I take with the kids, he imitates it perfectly," Martin told the Advocate in 2012. Apparently, the couple's 2014 breakup was not an amicable one. In 2015, Martin told The Sun (via Pink News), "He comes to see the kids. There was a year of silence but now we're buddies." Martin added, "I try to keep my life very civilized, that's what I need for the well-being of my children."

The singer revealed that he did not introduce any of his dates to his sons when he began looking for a new romantic connection. But not long after Martin met Swedish artist Jwan Yosef, the boys gained a second dad. After less than a year of dating, Martin announced that he and Yosef were engaged during a 2016 appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

Ricky Martin shares his birthday with his daughter

Jwan Yosef's paintings caught Ricky Martin's eye before the artist himself did. But Martin got so much more than a new piece to his add to his art collection after he reached out to Yosef. On "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Martin revealed that he was the one who popped the question when he and Yosef got engaged, and in January 2018, Martin told E! News that they had tied the knot. 

Yosef won over Martin's sons before joining the family. "They love each other. It's been perfect," Martin told DeGeneres in 2016. So perfect, in fact, that Martin and Yosef decided to add a baby girl to the mix. In 2019, Martin introduced their daughter, Lucia, to his Instagram followers. Per Google translate, his post was captioned, "The light of my eyes." Martin and Lucia share the same birthday, as Yosef noted in an Instagram tribute to the two of them that he posted on December 24, 2021. "Today is a double JOY, my most incredible husband @ricky_martin turns 50 and my daughter Lucia turns 3," he wrote.

While daddy and daughter might get cake, candles, and presents on the same day, this doesn't mean that they're on equal footing. According to Martin, the small but mighty Lucia reigns supreme as the queen of his majority-male household. "She doesn't snap fingers yet, but she's about to," he said on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in 2021. "She runs the house."

How his children realized that he's a global superstar

Ricky Martin began acclimating his children to the nomadic life of a performer early on. In a 2012 interview with Vanity Fair, he defended his decision to take sons Matteo and Valentino on tour with him when they were still preschoolers. "I'm the stability. With all the things that can be unstable on a tour, we really looked for structure. We traveled to four continents with my sons, very happily," he said.

However, it wasn't until Martin's sons fully experienced one of his shows that the boys realized just how famous their father is. After being dazzled by the bright lights and screaming fans, they saw their dad in a much different light. "When the show was over, they came to me and said, 'Papi, you're Ricky Martin.' I said 'I'm not Ricky Martin, I'm your father.' They said, 'No, no, no, you're Ricky Martin,' and so it changed," Martin recalled to People. He would later have to introduce daughter Lucia and son Renn, who was born in 2019, to his awe-inspiring world.

For Martin, being able to squeeze in some family time while touring is truly a blessing, but traveling with tweens, a toddler, and a baby is no easy task. "You have to think about four extra people coming with you everywhere and car seats and bags and luggage," he explained to E! News. "It's a lot, but it's okay ... My kids love being on the road."

Ricky Martin's kids might be his harshest critics

Ricky Martin has topped the Billboard charts and can boast upwards of 70 million record sales, but in the opinion of the "She Bangs" hitmaker's daughter, not all of his songs are bangers. Lucia is especially critical of her father's impromptu covers of some of her favorite children's tunes, including those featured on the series "CoComelon." When Martin appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in 2021, he revealed that Lucia makes him stop whenever he tries to sing along with her. "I'm like, 'Let me sing. I want to sing,'" Martin said. "'No, no, no, no, daddy. No, no, no, no, no.' So she doesn't let me sing, and this is serious business."

Martin told People that Lucia also became a fan of the ear-gnawing viral sensation "Baby Shark," and his little music critic ate him alive over his performance of that tune, too. But at least she tried to help him out by teaching him how to properly execute the hand movements that go along with the song.

Martin's older children aren't afraid to offer their input, as well, but they critique the music that their father plans on recording and releasing to the public. "You don't know the level of criticism I get from my kids," he told People. "Wow. It's as raw and honest as you can receive from an 8-year-old. They go, 'Dad, that movement I don't like. Dad, that song, you gotta change it,' and they bring good points."

Ricky Martin is open to having more kids

Ricky Martin and Jwan Yosef's cup of life might seem like it's already overflowing, but it's possible that the couple's family isn't finished growing. "Some people think I'm crazy but I love a big family and I have a couple of embryos waiting for me," Martin told ET in 2020. He added, "Jwan is going crazy at the moment, but it's okay, don't tell him."

Lucia hadn't yet been born when Martin appeared on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen" in 2017, and his remarks seemed to indicate that he would be her biological father when he and Yosef went through the surrogacy process to get their desired daughter. "I'm talking about only my babies," Martin told host Andy Cohen. "Then [Yosef is] gonna have more babies." When the couple welcomed their fourth child, Renn, in 2019, they didn't share the identity of their son's biological father, but the Daily Mail opined that the tot bore an uncanny resemblance to Martin in a 2020 Instagram photo.

Speaking to Out, Martin revealed that the exact number of children he would like to have varies from day to day. "There's moments where I want 10 more, and then there are those mornings where everybody's crying and I'm like, 'Okay, maybe we're fine at six.'" Martin told People that both of his twins possess a nurturing nature, so at least he and Yosef will have some helping hands if their brood gets bigger.

Inside the musician's experience quarantining with four kids

The COVID-19 pandemic created many challenges for families across the globe, and Ricky Martin's happy family wasn't immune from the stress that can come from sharing the same space for months. As the singer pointed out to ET in 2020, his twins were also on the cusp of entering teenhood when the pandemic began. "We're dealing with a lockdown and it's, 'Grrr ... get out of the way! This is my room, not yours, blah blah.' You know, it's all part of it," he said.

Speaking with British Vogue (via CBS 8), Martin revealed that his quarantine crew also included his mother, and he shared some of the steps his family was taking to stay safe. "What sums up lockdown? Diapers, music, and me personally disinfecting all the deliveries," he said. In an interview with People, he revealed that he made it a point to check in with his children daily, saying, "They just want your attention; they just want to be heard." 

Amid the fear and uncertainty of a trying time, the musician managed to find a silver lining. His older kids were already used to getting their education at home, per Out, and the proud dad told ET that they were continuing to excel at their studies. He also revealed that he enjoyed getting to spend all of this quality time with his loved ones. "It was great," he said on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." "It was warm and cozy."

Why Ricky Martin shares family photos with the public

Some celebrities cling tightly to whatever privacy they can get when they aren't fulfilling work obligations; they avoid sharing pictures of their families on social media, and they rarely talk about their personal lives during interviews. But Ricky Martin has a good reason for being less restrictive when it comes to what he shares about his husband and kids: He believes their happiness can give others hope.

While talking to People, Martin pointed out that the LGTBQ+ community continues to face a lot of prejudice and hate. "That's why for me it's so important for me to take a picture with my kids and my husband and post it on Instagram," he stated. "Because I know there are hundreds if not thousands of...young men and women out there struggling, and if they see me, they might feel better about themselves." He also spoke about the topic on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." The singer revealed, "I just want to normalize families like mine." He added that he's received plenty of positive feedback from fans who've been encouraged by his overt displays of family pride.

Martin further explained to Attitude (via E! News) that he wants his kids to feel proud of their parents. Oh, and he also gets to brag about his children to the entire world. "Every father thinks their children are special, but it gives me goosebumps how special they are!" Martin gushed to The Weekly

The artist's kids might follow in his footsteps

According to Ricky Martin, his twins do not have similar personalities. "Valentino is mister peace and love. He loves flowers and nature," the musician told the Advocate. While he seems to be the type who just goes with the flow, Matteo likes to take charge. "He's more alpha and a leader. He's like, 'You don't do that, this is what you do,'" Martin said.

What the siblings do have in common is an appreciation of music. When they were just toddlers, Martin saw a sign that they were potentially destined to follow in his footsteps. "The other day I took them to a toy store and they went straight to this tiny piano," he recalled to Parade in 2011.

Entertaining might be in the twins' DNA, but it appears that one of them has inherited his father's creativity, while the other shares Martin's ease appearing in front of a camera. "Matteo, he's more into the arts, and Valentino, I think he's gonna spend his life in front of a screen because he wants to be the best YouTuber in the world," Martin told "Extra" in 2020. He added that he would use his expertise to help his sons navigate the entertainment industry if they decided to pursue careers in the spotlight. Martin has also passed his humanitarian spirit on to his boys; in 2017, he told Hola! that one of the twins wanted to donate the entire contents of his piggy bank to the victims of Hurricane Maria.

Ricky Martin's children inspired two books

Ricky Martin lived a remarkable life before he became a father, but he credits his twins for inspiring him to share his story with the world in his memoir, "Me." When he appeared on "Larry King Live" in 2010, Martin revealed that holding his baby boys brought out his inner author. "It's about dignity, it's about love, it's about transparency. I need to do something about this. And then one day I sat in front of the computer and I started writing about my foundation and my trips to India," he recollected. In the book, he also shared his thoughts on fatherhood and reminisced about what the wait to meet his twins was like. "...what I felt in the deepest part of my soul can only be described as unadulterated bliss. Absolute happiness," he wrote.

Martin would also draw from his experience as a father when writing his 2013 children's book, "Santiago the Dreamer in Land Among the Stars." He told NPR, "I became a dad and all of the sudden this amazing amount of information that I started receiving from my kids was, I didn't know what to do with it." His children got the opportunity to give their dad some feedback when the book was completed. "I've read it to them, and they love it," Martin enthused to USA Today.

Perhaps Martin's children will inspire future literary endeavors. "I don't want to sound cliché," he told the Advocate, "but they teach me new things every day."